More than just medicine: Hospital staff provide free food and clothing too!

July 13, 2021 - 08:51
Doctors and medical staff at the Tây Nguyên ( Central Highlands) province of Kon Tum's General Hospital have helped patients and their families with charity meals and clothes.


Zero Wardrobe of Kon Tum Province’s General Hospital provides clothing to families in need. VNA/VNS Photo

KON TUM — Doctors and medical staff at the Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Kon Tum's General Hospital are helping patients and their families with free meals and clothing.

The hospital's "Zero Wardrobe" and "Charity Kitchen" programmes have given more motivation to patients to feel secure in treatment, especially ethnic minorities in difficult circumstances in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The hospital's pediatrics department receives an average of 60-70 patients, and can at times peak at more than 100 patients per day.

Many families with children receiving long-term treatment are financially insecure. This is particularly true for ethnic minorities.

Y Tra, 32, from Kon Tum City said that she and her husband work in agriculture to raise their three small children.

When their two-year-old son fell ill, they spent their entire life savings on his treatment.

"Thanks to the free wardrobe of the Pediatrics Department's doctors and nurses, he has nice clothes to wear," she said.

The "Zero Wardrobe" programme was an initiative, introduced by staff at the hospital, that began in 2019.

Donated clothing is washed, dried and then placed in a designated wardrobe at the hospital.

The wardrobe may look very simple, “but it is full of love", said doctor Hà Anh Đức, Head of Pediatrics Department.

Đức points out that most patients treated at the Pediatrics Department are from ethnic minorities and are often in very difficult financial circumstances.

 "Children who are hospitalised for a long time run out of clothes to wear. To meet the essential needs of the children, the doctors at the department regularly call on benefactors to donate old clothes, diapers and baby supplies."

"This is a great source of encouragement to help disadvantaged families reduce pressure and be more optimistic in life,” Đức said.

Alongside the "Zero Wardrobe" the hospital’s nutrition department also runs a "Charity Kitchen" programme.

At 6 o'clock every day, the staff in the nutrition department prepare quality meals and by about 10 o'clock food boxes are ready to deliver to patients and their families.

On an average day, the "Charity Kitchen" prepares about 150-300 meals for both lunch and dinner.

The department staff carefully plan the menu every day and change it regularly, ensuring meals are both nutritious and safe.

Food safety and hygiene are a top priority. When food is delivered staff quickly check the origin and save samples before processing it, said Nguyễn Thị Bích Thủy, Head of Nutrition at the hospital.

Staff at the hospital have in place, and strictly follow, COVID-19 guidelines. Food boxes are brought to the beds of special patients by medical staff, and people who come to pick up food boxes at the "Charity Kitchen” have to keep their distance and wear masks.

That said, COVID-19 has presented some challenges. Notably a lack of funds to buy the food. But Thủy is still optimistic.

“We hope to receive the help from donors and local enterprises so that we can continue to bring loving meals to disadvantaged patients being treated here,” said Thủy. VNS